Our oh so sophisticated society congratulates itself on throwing out Christianity and accounts itself liberated and free to pursue its own dreams without the hampering dead-weight of outdated dogma constantly hindering its advance to the sunlit uplands of a progressive utopia. Unfortunately there is always a price to pay.
One of the great benefits to society of Christian dogma is that it holds a balance between human greatness and human weakness. One the one hand man is made in the image of God, ‘a little lower than the angels’, on the other hand he is a fallen creature living in the midst of a fallen creation. At once of infinite worth, and at the same time subject to total depravity.
It is the latter doctrine which has been vigorously rejected by our society. True it is unfortunate in its designation. Total depravity gives the impression of being utterly depraved; when what total depravity indicates is the breadth of our fall. Flawed and distorted in every facet of our being, we are not the people we were created to be.
‘What a monstrous doctrine’, cry our undereducated utopian progressives, ‘Away with it’. Yet it is the doctrine of total depravity which has kept society sane and helped curb our selfish egos. If we throw out the very idea of human weakness and retain only the concept of human goodness we end up with today’s Western world, a society of unlimited self-conceit. Discarding it has brought about a society in which we celebrate self promotion and ignore real achievement.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasiemnko is a chunk of freezing rock about two miles long travelling through space at 135,000 mph. It is more than 300,000,000 miles away, so far from the earth that it takes radio signals 28 minutes to pass between it and earth. Yet pass those radio signals did. A team of scientists from the European Space Agency launched and guided the 15 stone Rosetta space craft close enough to 67P to detach the Philae probe, steer Philae to the comet and land on its surface.
This is an event which actually deserves the description of ‘mind boggling’; those of us with little scientific background stand amazed at what has been achieved, those with a scientific background stand and applaud.
Yet Dr Matt Taylor, a brilliant space scientist acting at one time as spokesman for the team, felt forced to apologise with tears in his eyes for something which he had done. This brilliant astrophysicist who had achieved a goal which must have consumed his life for more than a decade had sinned at the moment of his greatest triumph. ‘I have made a big mistake, I have offended people and I am sorry about this.’ The ‘big mistake’ which caused offence? He had worn a shirt on television which some people thought ‘inappropriate’.
Whilst being interviewed on television Dr Taylor wore a rather luridly coloured bowling shirt, designed and gifted by a woman, covered with depictions of rather well endowed young ladies, nothing pornographic just cartoons of rather nubile, clothed women. This caused a storm of abuse on Twitter, that electronic lavatory wall for the emotionally incontinent.
Most would rejoice that the achievements of Dr Taylor and his team would be enough to inspire young people, including women, to take up a life of science, but according to the intolerant Twitterati abusers his shirt is enough to put women off science forever. Perhaps we should be glad, the kind of woman who is so feeble minded to be put off a life in science because of one shirt is simply not tough minded enough to take up science in the first place.
If you discard an awareness of human fallenness and our smallness in comparison with our Creator you end up with with a world where ego is everything. Retaining a concept of the infinite greatness of man whilst discarding our smallness, gives birth to people who in effect worship themselves and lose even the appreciation of the greatness of others. It matters not what a rather absent minded scientist with few social attributes has managed to achieve, wonder and amazement at what we as humans can do is immaterial; the self obsessed imagine themselves offended by his shirt and so must take him down, reduce him to tears, and force him to apologise.
Our culture of instant offence did not just happen. The restraints upon the egotistical tendency inherent in most of us have been removed. We know only entitlement and have forgotten responsibility. This means that for the Twitter warriors campaigning for what they see as social justice there is no end game, there will always be a cause for offence, however small, however imagined, because the offended are the centre of their own world.
When we discard Christianity we discard more than Christianity.